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Saturday 25 November 2017

Naomh Eanna strike late

Naomh Eanna 1-11 Oylegate-Glenbrien 0-11

Brendan Furlong

Naomh Eanna, who got a good weekend for the club off to a winning start
Naomh Eanna, who got a good weekend for the club off to a winning start
The beaten finalists from Oylegate-Glenbrien

A 59th-minute goal from substitute David O'Brien handed Naomh Eanna a dramatic late victory over a battling Oylegate-Glenbrien side in this exciting Enniscorthy Electrical Wholesale and Plumbing ACFL Division 6 final in St. Patrick's Park, Enniscorthy, on Friday.

As both sides battled for the crucial scores, this was a game that looked to be heading for extra-time as neither seemed like creating that dramatic late breakthrough.

But Naomh Eanna took advantage of space through the centre, with midfielder Stephen Byrne making inroads towards goal.

His shot on goal was brilliantly blocked away by 'keeper Marty Kelly, only for the ball to fall into the path of inrushing substitute David O'Brien who coolly dispatched his effort into the opposite corner of the net.

While it turned out to be the winning score, Naomnh Eanna still had to endure relentless Oylegate-Glenbrien pressure in the two additional minutes with two shots for goal blocked just metres from the line. And only a desperate late block from corner-back John Lillis denied a Jamie Reck effort, leaving the Gorey town side to hold out for a dramatic victory as they repeated the previous weekend's win over the same club in the Division 2 hurling league final.

There was an abundance of effort from both sides through the opening 30 minutes as play flowed from end to end, helped by the excellent refereeing of Brendan Holohan.

At the end of the opening quarter Oylegate-Glenbrien led by 0-4 to 0-2, their points coming through Peter Nolan, two Daithí O'Mahoney frees and Jamie Reck, while two John O'Brien efforts kept Naomh Eanna in touch.

With Jamie Reck kicking over further points along with Daithí O'Mahoney, the Enniscorthy District side went in at the interval with a 0-8 to 0-5 lead, a Mick Molloy pointed free aiding the Naomh Eanna cause.

Through the second-half Naomh Eanna played their best football into the breeze, with points from Molloy and Jack Cullen hauling them back into contention and leaving them trailing by the minimum (0-10 to 0-9) at the end of the third quarter.

After substitute David O'Brien blazed a goal chance wide on 48 minutes, Naomh Eanna managed to put the miss behind them, as they responded with points from Molloy (free) and David O'Brien to lead by 0-11 to 0-10 with six minutes remaining.

Two minutes from the end a Ciarán Hourihane point levelled matters but then came O'Brien's late goal to give the Gorey club their second league title in the space of a week which they just about deserved.

Naomh Eanna: Derek Woods; Joseph Naughton, Pat Cullen, John Lillis; Jack Cullen (0-1 '45), Ross Murphy, Eoin Molloy; Stephen Byrne (0-1), Jack Cushe; Dillon Kenny (0-1), Michael Molloy (0-4 frees), Barry Kinsella; John O'Brien (0-2), Niall Kirwan, Paul Timmons (0-1). Subs. - Charlie McGuckin for Kinsella (33), Eoin McGuckin for Timmons, inj. (40), David O'Brien (1-1, 0-1 free) for Kenny (42), Daniel Sunderland for Kirwan (48).

Oylegate-Glenbrien: Marty Kelly; Robert O'Connor, Michael Heffernan, Fergal Doran; Bryan McCormack, Fergus Heffernan, Pa Cullen; Ciarán Hourihane (0-1), Conor Heffernan (0-1); Conor Doyle (0-1), Jamie Reck (0-2), Jack Reck; Daithí O'Mahoney (0-3 frees), Peter Nolan (0-2), Barry Dunne (0-1).

Referee: Brendan Holohan (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).

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